Spring firing at Kusakabe-san’

On April 14 I went to Kusakabe-san’s place to fire a wood kiln together and at the end at high temperature we threw salt into the kiln and got some beautiful results.

Quite a small effective kiln and hardly any smoke.

The fire box.

View of the glow of the fire through hole in the chimney.

A mixture of sawdust and salt is put on wood which is shoved as far back into the stoke hole for salt-ash glazing.

The opening of the kiln.

Kusakabe-san holding a beautiful bowl.

Our results from the kiln.


My story in a Japanese book

Yuki Shibazaki-san, the owner of the Ginsuzu Gallery, is a writer. She published a book about the influence of the Japanese culture on the way of life of 43 foreigners living in Japan and I am one of them.
The title is: “Watashi Nihon no koko ga suki”: I like Japan!

She chose also to write about my experience.

Underneath my image to the right it says: “Nihon ga oshiete kurete bigaku”: “Japanese beauty teaches me”. And my name in Katakana to the left: Suwanika Rihitenberugu.


Goldsmith family exhibition in Holland

On April the 3rd in The Netherlands, I attended and participated in the exposition of “Rudie Arens” (a brother of my mother): “A family of artists and goldsmiths”. The exposition is open until June the 6th, 2010. My uncle is 91 years old, still working (for more than 70 years), and is the oldest living goldsmith in Holland.

It was held in the museum “Het Valkhof” in the city Nijmegen. This museum houses a major collection of Roman antiquities, old masters, and modern art. It is located at the edge of the historic Valkhof Park, which was once the site of a Roman encampment and, many centuries later the residence of Charlemagne. Today, you will find an excitingly modern structure for art and archeology. A long glass gallery with its undulating ceiling offers a panoramic —-My uncle busy in his workshop.—– view of the grand river landscape beyond.

My father was also born in the city Nijmegen and as young as 18 years old and later becoming a historian, he was already a tour guide for the “Valkhof Park”. And now I have some of my work in the museum!

For five generations we have artists in the family and it started with my great-grandfather Herman Arens, who was a photographer and art drawing teacher and his brother Arnold Arens, who moved to Antwerpen (Belgium). He invented and had a patent on a machine for a copperplate press for decorations.

The 3 sons of my great-grandfather worked together in a guild of the “Brothers Arens”. My grandfather, Rudolphus, was the oldest, Albert was the painter and drew a lot of the designs and Johan, also a goldsmith, was the youngest. They made a lot of art for churches of which you can see a photo in my blog of February 2, 2010.

A special necklace made for the mayor of the city Huissen in 1948 by the “Brothers Arens”.

My uncle and godfather, Rudie Arens, who is born in 1918, and the 5th child out of 6, first wanted to become a doctor, but then chose to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He went to the appropriate art schools and had practical experience with a lot of artists. He also became an art teacher and in his workshop he taught over 80 students for their practical year. Some of his work:

A silver seahorse on precious stone.

He crafted lots of sigilla/signs for university student organizations.

The design of a commemorative “Spoon” for the birth of “Prins Bernard”, one of the sons of Princess Margriet, sister of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.

Of course, I have to show you this swan, which he crafted beautifully on top of a leftover medieval staff.

This is another drawing of some fine jewelry, so beautiful that it almost looks real.

The granddaughter, Charlotte Rombouts Arens, the fifth generation, will continue the goldsmithing art.

My brother Ruud-Jan Kokke, who is a designer, my sister Alida Kokke, who is a floral artist and I are the fourth generation participating in this exhibition.

My sister Alida with “Primula” flower prints surrounded by “email” (color glaze) floral primula jewelry of uncle Rudie.

The cane and stool are designed by my brother Ruud-Jan and acquired, shown and sold in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Then my work: the “Angle” Kamakura Red Teapot and cup, the “Toward the middle” plate and an engraved white slip plate.